The Lifetime docu-series “Surviving R. Kelly” features testimony from Jovante Cunningham, who says she witnessed the hitmaker engaging in sexual intercourse with late singer Aaliyah.
Now, Aaliyah’s mother, Diane Haughton, has reportedly released a statement in response to Cunningham’s claims that a then 27-year-old R. Kelly seduced the 15-year-old in the ’90s on a tour bus.
“The woman and so-called backup singer in the forthcoming ‘Surviving’ documentary that described seeing, meeting, or even breathing the same air as my daughter, Aaliyah, is lying and is a liar,” Haughton’s statement reads. “My husband and I were always on tour with her and at interviews and every place she went throughout her entire career. Whoever this woman is, I have never seen her before anywhere on planet Earth, until now.
“These lies and fabrications cannot be tolerated and allowed to be spewed from the forked tongue of saboteurs of Aaliyah’s legacy,” Haughton continues. “Shame on all those involved in this project who thought it kosher to drag Aaliyah’s name into a situation that has nothing to do with her today.”
Aaliyah’s brother Rashard Haughton, re-tweeted the statement.
As reported by PEOPLE, Cunningham breaks down in the Lifetime documentary recalling when she claims to have discovered Kelly and Aaliyah had a sexual relationship.
“We were out on the road with Aaliyah,” she said. “On a tour bus, there really aren’t many confined spaces. When you get on the bus there are bunks and so these bunks have little curtains you can pull at night if you don’t want anybody to see you sleeping.”
“So it just so happened we were all laying in our bunks and the curtains are open, everybody’s communicating, laughing,” Cunningham continues. “When the [room] door flew open on the bus. Robert was having sex with Aaliyah.”
Asked what she saw, Cunningham responded, “Things that an adult should not be doing with a child.” She adds, “I can’t stress to you how people are still suffering behind things that went on 20 years ago.”
“Surviving R. Kelly” premiered Jan. 3 on Lifetime TV.